More bad news hit retailers as the latest global online consumer confidence Nielsen survey showing that it has plummeted to 103 points for the second quarter of 2011, the lowest since 2009.

Down from 110 points in the first quarter of 2011, the results show that 33 per cent of households are making cost-cuts by purchasing cheaper alcohol brands, while saving on gas and electricity (68 per cent), cutting down on out of home entertainment (67 per cent) and spending less on new clothes (65 per cent).

“Australian households are being hit hard with unrelenting price increases across the board. Consumers were aware that from 1 July, households would be hit by one of the biggest rises in the cost of living in decades – utility bills – with electricity, water and gas prices all increasing,” Chris Percy, managing director – Pacific, Nielsen Consumer Group, said.

“We haven’t seen this level of commitment to reducing household expenditure since the GFC began in late 2008,” said Chris Percy, managing director – Pacific, Nielsen Consumer Group.

“As pressure on family budgets continues to mount, worried consumers are constantly looking at ways to save on household expenses. This quarter has seen consumers cut back on everything – from alcohol expenditure and consumption to telephone expenses and from in and out of home entertainment to buying to cheaper grocery brands.”

“Restraint on household expenditure has become the norm for many Australian households and consumers have indicated that these cost cutting actions are set to continue even when economic conditions do improve,” said Percy.

The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 31,000 internet consumers in 56 countries.